Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rizzo and Span on the trade

US Presswire photo
Denard Span says he's "definitely ready" to join the Nationals.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and new center fielder Denard Span each held a conference call with reporters this evening to discuss today's trade with the Twins. Here are some highlights from both men...

MIKE RIZZO
Were you surprised this trade came about quickly, and how did it come about?
"I wouldn't say I'm surprised to get it done quickly. We've been in contact with Terry Ryan and the Minnesota Twins for approximately 3-4 weeks when we started discussing the deal. It started gaining momentum last week after the GM meetings and we started really making some progress the past couple of days."

What does this mean for Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse?
"Michael Morse is under contract for us. He's a guy that's a middle of the lineup, productive player for us. And Adam LaRoche was our first baseman last year. We're still discussing with him and in contract negotiations with him. So it gives us some options in dealing with our roster."

What made Span the guy you wanted?
"He fits very well for us. First of all, outstanding character, big-time makeup guy, teammates love him on the field, off the field, community guy. I've known him for a long time. I've seen him since he played at Tampa high school and just watched him develop as a player year in and year out. His skill set is something that we were looking for. It's something we've been looking for for a while now. You talk about a true defensive ballhawk, center-field type of guy with great range. Sabermetrically and with the scout's eye, he's a front-line defensive center fielder. He's a consummate leadoff type of hitter. He appealed greatly to us because of his skill set as an offensive player, high average guy, .350 on base percentage type of guy, doesn't strike out, one of the tougher guys in the league to strike out, and can really, really run from the left side of the plate, which keeps our lineup balanced. And a guy who in the past has stolen a lot of bases and we feel is going to really come into his own as a basestealer with us in the National League."

Is this the first player like this you've had in D.C.?
"The first guy with this kind of skill set that's an established big-league player. We think we've got guys in the system that fulfill this role, but they're years away. They're in the pipeline, and we're looking for big things from them down the road. But as far as an established guy at his age, he's a 28-year-old guy still just reaching the prime of his career, and I really think his game is going to translate to the National League very very well."

How did you settle on Meyer being the other half of the trade?
"We understand the process. To get a good, established major league player at Denard's age with the contract that he has, you're going to have to give up a good quality player. Terry Ryan is one of the best general managers in the game. You're not going to pull the wool over his eyes. You have to give to get, and we feel we have great depth in our minor league system. We continue to call upon our scouts and player development to add to that system each and every year. To give up an Alex Meyer for Denard Span, it's always a difficult decision to make, but one we felt fit our time frame, fit our skill set and was something that the front office and ownership was willing to do."

Does this move knock out a lot of what you hoped to accomplish this offseason?
"It was one of the goals that we had, to fill this spot. We had a lot of options. We could have stayed with Harp in center field. He's a terrific young center fielder. But we feel like for his long-term development and his career path we wanted to move him out of the taxing position of center field, both mentally taxing and physically taxing. We've accomplished that. We also have a lot of other things on our agenda to improve the ballclub. Because as we've seen, the other teams in our league, they're not standing pat. They're trying to do better and we're trying to put the right moves in to compete with them and to stay a competitive ballclub."

How close were you to trading for Span in 2011, and are you concerned about his past issues with concussions?
"We were in talks with the Twins a couple years back and tried to acquire him. The trade didn't work out, the players didn't work out that we were willing to give up for him. As far as the injury history, he had a fairly healthy 2012 after a concussion season in 2011. Our medical people cleared him of being able to sign him. He had an injury-free finish to the season and really had one heck of a season for the Twins. Our scouts saw him play very, very well. Our medical people cleared him, and we're confident that he's ready to roll into spring training. After talking to him just briefly before I came on with you guys here, he's feeling very good about himself, he's happy to be in the Nationals family and he's looking forward to really getting after it this year and starting in spring training and bringing it forward."

Has there been any trade interest in Morse?
"We've had some inquiries about Michael Morse and several other players that are on our roster."

DENARD SPAN
What was your reaction to the trade? "First of all, my emotions right now are all over the place but definitely excited. I'm very excited to be coming to Washington. I think a year-and-a-half ago when I first heard the rumors, I definitely don't think I was ready for it then. But fast-forward to now I'm definitely ready for it. I'm ready to be coming to a team that already is in place to win. I just hope I can come here and fit in and not get in the way."

How excited are you to play with Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper?
"I'm very excited to be playing alongside both of those guys. Two all-star caliber players. I feel like I need to step my game up and try to get to the All-Star Game, hopefully. I think they're going to elevate my game, just by playing alongside with them."

Are there any lingering concerns about your concussions?
"I'm confident that I'm behind it. I feel like last year was a good sign of that. I don't feel like I played to my 100 percent capability last year, but I was able to go out and prove that I still can be a good player. It was probably one of the hardest things I've had to go through. The reason why I said I wasn't ready for it a year and a half ago was because I was going through the concussions. Hearing trade talks and going through a concussion wasn't easy for me. But fast-forward to today, I'm definitely ready."

How did those earlier trade talks make you feel?
"That's the greatest feeling any ballplayer can have, when you're wanted. When a team does whatever they have to do to trade for you, or try to acquire you through free agency. It's a good feeling, to be wanted. I talked to Mr. Rizzo and I could hear it in his voice, how excited he was to have me. I heard his voice and it kind of brought some energy into me because I'd just gotten off the phone with our GM and it was kind of a sad conversation. And I talked to Mike and it kind of gave me some life. I'm just ready to go."

How would you describe your style of play?
"I'm definitely a grinder, in a sense. I love to have fun. I try to bring my A-game every day and I'm definitely going to bring a lot of range in the outfield. I love to go get it out in center field. I thrive on being one of the best leadoff hitters in the game, or trying to be. I love setting the tone. I love getting up to start the game and taking pitches and trying to give my teammates the best look they can and try to set the tone and try to get on base. Stealing bases for me, I'm still a work in progress. I'm still trying to up that and I'm not going to stop working."

How is that you were actually born in D.C.?
"My mom went to school in D.C. [at the University of the District of Columbia] and my uncle lived there for over 20 years, my mom's older brother. When she went to college, she lived there. At the time, she had moved back to Florida, but when she was pregnant with me she came up to D.C. to visit some family and friends and ended up having me."

So, she wasn't expecting for you to be born here?
"I don't think so. I don't think she planned on having me in Washington, D.C. I think she'd planned on having me in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and I ended up just popping out early."

62 comments:

NatsJack in Florida said...

Denard Span is everything Brian Goodwin is not.

Candide said...

995c0828-8d78-11e1-b794-000bcdcb5194 said (in the previous post)... If they don't sign LaRoche, they basically got worse as a team with this trade. Period. Just replaces LaRoche in the lineup with Span...and you get rid of Alex Meyer.

If ALR goes, I see it as they are replacing him with Morse at 1B, and someone showed earlier that Morse at 1B doesn't hurt you significantly on defense. Plus Morse is certainly ALR's equal at the plate, and he's younger.

So you're replacing Morse in left with Span in center. Definitely a defensive upgrade. And Span's oWAR is actually better than Morse's.

I'm loving the certitude with which everyone is proclaiming "LaRoche is GONE!" and "Morse is GONE!" Of course, the only guy whose opinion counts is Rizzo, and, as we've seen over and over again, not one of us has the slightest insight into what goes on inside that amazing head of his.

MicheleS said...

Looks like Kilgore was on the phone with Davey

Faraz Shaikh said...

Sounds like a very good character.

baseballswami said...

Bryce seems like a beast to me. Why don't we want him to be a super star center fielder? Seems like unnecessary coddling. Plenty of famous center field hall of famers. I have not heard of any other teams (certainly not the angels) moving a highly talented guy out of fear that he will wear out someday. Bryce will be a Yankee by then anyway.

995c0828-8d78-11e1-b794-000bcdcb5194 said...

Winter Meetings Checklist:

1. Sign LaRoche
2. Sign Haren or trade any/all of the following for another stud pitcher: Morse, Moore, Espinosa, Bernadina, any other prospect not named Rendon or even Rendon if you can get Price, Matt Moore, or King Felix. I would also be willing to trade Desmond for one of those 3.
3. Get a LH reliever.

Span seems like a real class act. I think he will have career years here in DC and may even hit 15 HR's or so with 40 SB. I really see everything falling into place for this guy. Minnesota is a great baseball town, but it is cold, cold, cold. And they play in a huge park. I think his game is going to raise up a level here.

JZimm's only fan... said...

Natsjack can you explain what you mean?

and swami I think the plan for bryce was always corner outfield so that's where they put him not a big deal

baseballswami said...

Seems like Bernie will go to waste now- what is his status? Tradable?

MicheleS said...

Swami, Bryce is going to get bigger and you don't want a big giant beast roming CF and crashing into walls and possibly injuring himself. Extends his career. AND BITE YOUR FRICKIN FINGERS OFF FOR TYPING THAT YANKEES COMMENT.

pdowdy83 said...

Swami take a look at the careers of Ken Griffey Jr and Mickey Mantle. Move them out of CF and put them in a corner spot and you may get another year or two out of them. I'm sure there are other examples of this but those 2 came to mind pretty quickly.

The other thing to keep in mind about moving him out of CF is that Span is a REALLY good CFer and that moving Bryce to a corner makes the team better defensively as a whole. There were a few balls that were hit in the Cardinals series to LF that Werth and Harper would have gotten to far quicker than Morse did. Whether that changes anything in the series is debatable but if you can upgrade why wouldn't you?

Faraz Shaikh said...

Swami, I don't think it is coddling. It is getting the best guy for each position. Span is better than Harper in CF. That's it.

pdowdy83 said...

Swami, Bernie is a 4th outfielder. Span has had some injury issues, Werth has had some injury issues and Bernie plays all 3 spots. He is a perfect 4th outfielder and definitely won't go to waste. There is no reason to trade away a guy who has far more value to his own team than another team in the league.

sm13 said...

I just love that Rizzo leads his comment on Span with "He fits very well for us. First of all, outstanding character, big-time makeup guy, teammates love him on the field, off the field, community guy." This is what makes Rizzo such a great GM and the Nats such a great team. It is a pleasure to root for these guys and to know they are giving 100% every day. Natitude is pride! I'm a proud Nats fan!

pdowdy83 said...

JZimm, it has been reported a few times that Goodwin has a few makeup issues. There is a reason he ended up at Miami-Dade instead of staying at UNC. Check out the scouting report that I am linking. Elite athleticism but a few question marks.

http://www.perfectgame.org/players/playerprofile.aspx?ID=121488

NatsJack in Florida said...

Swami.... I love ya but ya gotta get a better grip on how this works.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Just to set record straight, Span is not the fastest guy around so don't be expecting him to steal 40 bases.

NatsJack in Florida said...

When it comes to Goodwin, it's not so much "character" as it is "maturity". Maybe this will make him "grow up".

Candide said...

Faraz Shaikh said...Just to set record straight, Span is not the fastest guy around so don't be expecting him to steal 40 bases.

I don't think Davy's ever been a big fan of stolen bases anyway.

pdowdy83 said...

Good point Faraz. Span is more of an Ian Desmond type base stealer. His speed translates more into 1st to 3rd, triples etc.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

No reason to put down Goodwin. He's not ready. The pitchers will enjoy the best outfield in the Majors as configured now and JZim will benefit the most given his FB%.

Joe Seamhead said...

I agree that Harper was playing a very good CF and was getting better by the day, and was destined to be an All-Star there,if he kept playing the position. That said, I think Harper is destined to be an all-star whatever position he plays. He has stated that he prefers to play CF because he feels that he gets better reads off the bat in center. I feel that you don't take advantage of his arm and speed in LF especially. In Rizzo we trust.I am very happy we didn't sign Bourn or BJ.

Gonat said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
No reason to put down Goodwin. He's not ready. The pitchers will enjoy the best outfield in the Majors as configured now and JZim will benefit the most given his FB%.

November 29, 2012 8:27 PM
____________________________________

Good point SteveM. Goodwin isn't close to ready. This is a much improved defense.

NatsLady said...

Davey is a rip. "I'll just check with my resident genius Werth, the young stud can play either position...Adam, bring your pen..."

baseballswami said...

Ok, ok - I get it. Sorry for jerking everyone's chain. Especially you , Michelle - cheap shot with the Yankee comment. In my actual life I am very flexible and adaptable. In my virtual baseball life I struggle with change, saying good bye to my idols, and adjusting to new guys. I will be fully hopping on board any minute now. But, I just LOVE watching Bryce throw people out from centerfield! How is this new guy's arm? I am sure that he will say something noble when he is introduced and I will warm up to him. So - who will put the jersey on him? Everyone is either at Detweiler's wedding or golfing in Davey's tournament. I guess the big press conference will have to wait until after the winter meetings anyway. That Rizzo just plays things so close to the vest, doesn't he? Not even a hint of a rumor. Can't wait to see what he does next - I hope it's soon so I have plenty of time to get used to the inevitable changes, which I will hate at first. Go you Denard Span guy, Go - there, that better? Bryce in left! Or right! Whatever!

Faraz Shaikh said...

so basically Davey is saying that he does not want Morse next season, at least not as a starter?

JamesFan said...

Good to get Harper out of center. He was not a natural out there, and it is an easier place to get hurt.

Joe Seamhead said...

I wonder how Harper feels about this news?
Also, does anybody know the whole story about Span's collarbone injury which caused him to miss a fair amount of time during the last two months of the season?

JZimm's only fan... said...

Before we slam Goodwin for his character lets remember that Bryce Harper was public enemy number 1 for character concerns in the minors...I think he turned out okay

Goodwin had academic issues that removed him from UNC, I think he has handled being rushed through really difficult minor league levels in short periods of time pretty well

Constant Reader said...

I rarely hype the other website over here, but Kilgore's analysis just posted is a very insightful read. So much flexibility for Rizzo's next move.

Joe Seamhead said...

From an AP report:
Span played in 128 games this year, hitting .284 with four homers and 41 RBIs. He missed time late in the season due to a strained right collarbone, allowing Ben Revere to showcase his speed in the outfield and on the basepaths.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Garcia is now top 20 Nats prospect according to J Mayo. That basically tells you, he is having trouble finding a prospect when he names a 26+ year old guy a prospect.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Most telling quote from Rizzo: "And Adam LaRoche was our first baseman last year."

He's gone. So is Morse, if Rizz gets what he wants.

Werth-Span-Harper is a tremendous defensive outfield.

I love this trade. We get a contact hitter, speed guy, non-strikeout guy to balance the inevitable 100 Ks a year we're going to get from Zimm, Desi, Espi (175, plus), Morse (if he makes it until spring, which I doubt.)

I still think Tyler Moore is Opening Day first baseman.

Sorry, Michele.

MicheleS said...

Sunshine, the only thing that holds me back on Tyler is that he may not have the experience at 1b for a contentor.

Drew said...

I don't see any reason to take a swipe at Goodwin.

Span is an exciting player and appears to be a good guy, but don't sell Goodwin short. He looks like he will have surprising extra-base power.

baseballswami said...

I tend to feel that Tyler Moore offers strong offense for more years and has a very high defensive ceiling. Love the Beast, too, though.So great to have so many good options. The chess games continue.

Donald said...

I'd be really surprised if Moore is the starting 1B next year. Rizzo seems intent on upgrading positions at every chance. Moore is not strong defensively and strikes out too much. He could become a great 1B in a few years, but he's not ready next year and Rizzo knows it. It's either Morse or LaRoche. My guess is that Davey wants LaRoche (more of a Keith Hernandez type guy). But we'd be fine with either.

Bzl. said...

One thing that is certain is that LF has been upgraded substantially, on defense. This was a constant weak spot last year, no matter who played there. Bryce's arm in LF? Fugheddaboudit.

I hope they sign LaRoche. Give him a 3rd year, if necessary. Our defense is going to be best in MLB, if they do.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Michele, I agree Moore's defense is an unknown at 1B. What is known is it won't approach ALR. But if he's the 30-100 offensive guy we think he is, I'll be able to live with it.

He's going to be surrounded by defense anyway. Maybe some of it will rub off. Hope so.

baseballswami said...

Adam coming back is definitely the best case scenario - except for the effect it has on Morse. Why can't we just have it all?

MicheleS said...

Sunshine my concern is we have an infield that gets the Yips when they throw to 1b, and not just Ryan, Ian can have an issue on occasion.

Swami, this is what STINKS about all these moves. I loved Tommy Milone, but we got Gio and i got over it. I love Adam, it might take longer to get over that. I love Beast and I will figure out away to get over that.

D'Gourds said...

My immediate reaction is that I don't like the trade. But I also didn't like the Gio trade and that worked out well for both teams. I have great respect for Rizzo. He obviously knows more than we do--perhaps it doesn't seem likely to sign ALR. But I really like Morse. He's a special player and person. He adds so much to the team. I would really hate to see him go. To me, I'd rather see using our minor league prospects to get a top of the rotation starter. That would make us unstoppable.

sm13 said...

Is it time for this to be Morse's swan song...Take on me, take me on
I'll be gone
In a day or two?

Tim said...

I am not sure that ALR > Morse at 1B. Assuming no injuries, I think Morse the better offensive player by a fair margin. Morse was thrown into playing 1B 2 years ago with minimal preparation and he did a nice job. With more time to prepare and he should improve and is I think above avg defender there.

Also, a player in a walk year before FA, to me they always seem to play above their heads and then let down after signing a big deal. We a know MM is capable of hitting .300 w/ 30+HR and 100RBI, and he could be due for an even bigger year if he stays healthy and finds a consistent position in the field - might be 35+HR and 120+RBI. I think trading him in a walk year when he has everything to prove is a big risk, unless we get someone really good in return.

Doc said...

NatsJack I trust your opinion on matters Goodwin.

Rizzo thinks that he is "years" away. I was thinking about 2 years or less!

Seems like a good kid from interviews that I've had an opportunity to hear. He's LH too.

NatsLady said...

If the Red Sox signed ALR they would not have to give up their first round draft pick, I believe. They would have to give up their second round pick; because they finished in the bottom ten their first pick is protected. Texas, OTOH, would have to give up their first pick.

MicheleS said...

NatsLady.. See Olney's tweets about the Sox and giving up the 2nd round pick.

sjm308 said...

Swami - reading your first few posts, I was ready to jump down here and go at it with you. I appreciate your honesty and change is certainly difficult but take a step back and look at what this does for Harper, Werth and our entire team. Goodwin can take over next year as the #4 outfielder if he continues to make progress. He does not need to be rushed. The young pitchers in our system just got more motivated to return from surgery as they now can move up quicker.

Davey still wants LaRoche and told him to bring a pen to his golf tournament so that is not a done deal yet and no matter who plays first, we have not lost a thing offensively.

Personally, I like LaRoche if its a 2 year deal and even if its 3 I guess I am ok. With LaRoche, our defense at all 9 positions would challenge any team in baseball. Our pitching will also improve because of this and the hitting is solid. What is not to like???

One question. Would you guys prefer Bryce in right or left? Swami talked about throwing guys out and to me, Bryce has the cannon to make throws in right field that would do just that. Is it more important for Jason to stay put or would you move Bryce in right now? Just wondering.

MicheleS said...

Rosenthal's Latest Column on the Nats, Span, and the pursuit of Greinke.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@sjm: I'd prefer the Kid in right and Jayson in left. But as Davey sez, it's whatever Jayson wants. Translation: it's whatever the Kid wants.

I love the Span trade for so many reasons -- speed, defense, character, makeup, etc. -- but here's what I REALLY like about it.

It means we're not saddled with an Upton or Bourn for the next five years. Whew!

SonnyG10 said...

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I love the Span trade for so many reasons -- speed, defense, character, makeup, etc. -- but here's what I REALLY like about it.

It means we're not saddled with an Upton or Bourn for the next five years. Whew!
November 29, 2012 10:51 PM


Amen to that, Sunshine!

Doc said...

ALR has been playing 1B for what, 10-13 years or more?? Mickey Morse has played for 1 year, if that.

Except for 1 bad game in '11, he was errorless at the bag. Previous to that game he actully had had an errorless career in the bigs, or close to it.

ALR has no peer at fielding 1B, but Morse is not far behind, and probably has more range than ALR, and also has the hands of the SS with which he came to the Bigs.

Yeah, I'm still a MM fan, but in reality I don't see a problem with him taking over at 1B--neither does Rizzo apparently.

Doc said...

Thanks for the link on Rosenthal MicheleS!

Only Dodger money stands between us and Greinke.

A DC Wonk said...

Candide said...

Faraz Shaikh said...Just to set record straight, Span is not the fastest guy around so don't be expecting him to steal 40 bases.

I don't think Davy's ever been a big fan of stolen bases anyway.


Not true, actually.

One of the great things about Davey (and I've been saying this since 2011) is that he builds his strategy, in part, by the players he has. He's flexible.

In his first full (albeit strike shortened) season with the Reds, in 1994 (when they finished 1st), the Reds were third in the NL in stolen bases.

In 1995 (when the Reds also finished 1st), the Red were 1st in the NL in stolen bases.

A DC Wonk said...

One question. Would you guys prefer Bryce in right or left? Swami talked about throwing guys out and to me, Bryce has the cannon to make throws in right field that would do just that. Is it more important for Jason to stay put or would you move Bryce in right now? Just wondering.

Glad you brought that up -- I was thinking that, too, but I see so few others mentioning it: Bryce's arm is so good, he perhaps ought to be in RF, and Jason in LF. (I'd like folks smarter than I to weigh in on that).

Drew said...

The home opener could be See-Span Day.

Brian Lamb could throw out the first pitch.

NatsJim said...

Put Bryce and his canon in RF now and leave him alone for the next decade. Werth should naturally move to LF as he ages, so I say get them settled in now for the long haul.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Depends on where Harper's Honeys decide they want to sit. If they migrate to left, he's in left. If they want him in right, he's in right.

We can't go wrong. We're loaded, and Rizzo is still backing the Brinks truck up to the bank's back door (Greinke!).

baseballswami said...

It has been said that Davey is not a big fan of stealing. Does he let Span steal and turn Bryce loose more, or will that skill go to waste?

Teddy Rochlis said...

i see span as someone who maybe won't steal a lot of bases (20-35 next year) but someone with amazing upsides in terms of defense BA and runs scored along with other categories.Great guy and what we needed short term going forward.

NatsNut said...

I really like how candid Span is with some of his quotes over at the Post. It's clear that he's sad to be leaving the only organization he's been with for 10 years, he's nervous about meeting his new team and remembering names and flattered by Rizzo's desire to acquire him. It all makes sense of course, but you don't often hear players actually saying these things.
Swami, I'm like you when it comes to change and there are usually a few days when my arms are crossed and I'm harumphing, but this is already endearing him to me.
GYFNG!

Tcostant said...

NatsLady said...
If the Red Sox signed ALR they would not have to give up their first round draft pick, I believe. They would have to give up their second round pick; because they finished in the bottom ten their first pick is protected. Texas, OTOH, would have to give up their first pick.


Just to be clear, this has no effect on what the Nationals get if ALR leaves. While you are correct about the picks thos teams will loss; the Nationals only get a sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd round regradless of who signs him. The signing teams pick just goes away and is basicly skipped.

natsfan1a said...

Already said that I liked the deal but didn't welcome Denard so here you go: Welcome - will look forward to watching you next year and beyond!

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